I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like to be read to.
Have you heard people say, “The kids today have short attention spans because of electronics and quick-paced television for kids”? It’s true they’re used to watching three to four-second bytes and they enjoy fast-paced computer games, but to date I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like to be read to.
As I sat in the Kelso, WA Amtrak station waiting for a train that was 38 minutes late, I watched a grandmother read Curious George to her five-year-old grandson.
From my vantage point, she appeared to be a rather listless reader, void of expression, sound effects and lifted eyebrows accompanying some of Hans’ and Margaret’s incredible thoughts, yet the child was glued to his grandma’s side listening to the story!
When the book was finished, I thought for sure he’d get up and run around the waiting room, but instead, he pulled another book from his backpack and she proceeded to read it in the same dreary way. The train turned out to be an hour late and the child remained interested in books the entire time. So much for short attention spans and quick-paced action to keep a child’s attention.
So here are what I believe are 7 benefits of reading bedtime stories to your children.
1. Cultivates Imagination
Now that visual stimulation is served up via television, IPads, IPhones, Xbox etc., children rarely get to tap into their imaginations unless we read to them, or until they can read. As a child, I loved radio (it was before we had television) because my imagination provided the visuals. Because we don’t have kid radio, unless we read to our kids, their ability to use their precious imaginations and be able to visualize will weaken.
I remember one Christmas, my daughter Peggy bought a bunch of children’s books at a neighborhood garage sale and recorded reading them on a cassette tape recorder for her non-reading cousins as gifts for Christmas. As adults, those cousins still speak of how they loved her gifts of being read to.
My husband Terry and I recorded books on CDs, the same way Peggy did with a cassette recorder. This way our grandchildren could listen to us read the books we gave them as gifts.
2. Creates a Bond